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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 8/2/2019 (544 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
I have no idea what Barack Obama will say when he speaks in Winnipeg next month.
But I do know what he said in his farewell speech as U.S. president. Just days before Donald Trump’s inauguration accelerated the descent into the post-truth era and the rise of "alternative facts," Obama issued a remarkably prescient warning about the threat the internet poses to democracy.
Obama was worried about the viral nature of disinformation that knows no bounds on Facebook and Twitter. He foresaw the danger of a society where more and more people are fed only by their personalized media streams.
"We become so secure in our bubbles that we accept only information, whether true or not, that fits our opinions, instead of basing our opinions on the evidence that’s out there," the 44th president of the United States said during an address in his hometown of Chicago.
I mention this caution delivered with a presidential seal because newspapers such the Free Press are part of the antidote to a world where "news" is determined and then delivered by the algorithm on a smartphone. Obama recognized society needs what he called a common baseline of facts, and those that fund our journalism are helping us keep that baseline real.
To recognize such support, so critical in combating the rise of fake news, and to convince more that our journalism is worthy their dime and time, we have the reward of four pairs of tickets to see the hottest political show to hit Winnipeg in some time.
All existing Free Press subscribers have a chance to get their name on the ballot to hear what Obama will say when he speaks at Bell MTS Place on Monday, March 4, at 6 p.m. To enter, simply email your name, address and phone number to email@example.com.
For those who aren’t yet paid members of our audience, getting your name on the ballot is as easy and as affordable as signing up for an all-access digital pass which lets you read all that we produce 24-7.
The draw will be made based on the entries and the subscriptions received by noon Thursday, Feb. 28.
In my time covering politics, I reported on the presidential visits to Canada of both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Two years ago, the Free Press had Jimmy Carter on the front page, as the former president was in Winnipeg for Habitat for Humanity. And when Obama makes his first visit to Winnipeg, a former U.S. president will be front-page news again.
I’ll be there with our team of reporters and columnists. I hope you can join us, too.
Paul Samyn has been part of the Free Press newsroom for more than a quarter century, working his way up after starting as a rookie reporter in 1988.
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Letters must include the writer’s full name, address, and a daytime phone number. Letters are edited for length and clarity.